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MDC in talks with Makoni

THE Movement for Democratic Change which this week secured a majority in parliament has opened dialogue with losing contestant in the presidential race Simba Makoni to craft a workable plan for the next government.

It has also secured the support of Arthur Mutambara’s faction.
The Zimbabwe Independent was told that the MDC and Makoni’s team had started exploratory meetings to see whether the two groupings can work together in a new government.
Makoni, who contested as an independent with the support of the Arthur Mutambara faction of the MDC, won about 7% of the vote. A senior official in Makoni’s Mavambo project yesterday confirmed that there was “low level discussion” between the two formations. He however said Makoni’s grouping was at the moment more concerned about what position it would take in the event of a run-off being declared between President Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai for the presidential crown.
He said the Makoni camp was likely to make three demands on the MDC in return for support. He said they wanted an assurance from the MDC that the party would make a new constitution a priority upon assuming office. He also said fresh elections should then be held under the new constitutional dispensation. He said Makoni’s grouping also wanted assurances that the MDC government would not try to “reverse” the land reform programme.
Unconfirmed reports say that Tsvangirai and Makoni’s people had met several times a week before elections. The reports say senior officials in Makoni’s Mavambo project were likely to be offered senior posts an MDC government.
Meanwhile, the Mutambara faction of the MDC has said it will back Tsvangirai in the event of a run-off.
The faction won 10 seats in the parliamentary poll. Its deputy spokesperson and newly re-elected Nkayi South MP, Abednico Bhebhe, yesterday confirmed that they will campaign for and support Tsvangirai in the event of a poll re-run being called after the counting of the presidential votres.
“There is no way I can support and campaign for Mugabe,” said Bhebhe. “If there is a poll re-run we will support Tsvangirai and we will have to sit down with the other winning candidates and decide. It is obvious that they will also agree to back Tsvangirai.”
 This is the first public proclamation of support Tsvangirai has received from parties and candidates that took part in the harmonised polls to back him in the case of a poll re-run.
The Mutambara MDC won all its 10 seats in Matabeleland North and South constituencies.
The Makoni camp has said it will make a decision on who to back after the presidential results are announced.
David Coltart, who has won a senate seat, said yesterday that the MDC could have won eight more seats had it not gone into the election as a divided party.  — Staff Writers.

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